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I am an Assistant Professor of English at the US Naval Academy. My research focuses on eighteenth-century British literature, theatre history, performance studies, celebrity, and the intersections of literature and law. My book, Owning Performance | Performing Ownership: Literary Property and the Eighteenth-Century British Stage (University of Michigan Press, 2022),  examines the attempts of playwrights, actors, and theatre managers to “own” the ephemeral and unfixed performance of their plays in the era before legal protection for performance.


PhD in English, University of Delaware

MA in English, University of Delaware

BA in English, Binghamton University


Owning Performance | Performing Ownership: Literary Property and the Eighteenth-Century British Stage. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2022.

“Extra-Illustration, Participatory Biography, and the Construction of Celebrity,” in Making Stars: Biography and Eighteenth-Century Celebrity, ed. Kristina Straub and Nora Nachumi (Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 2022).

“Eighteenth-Century Theatre History and Performance Studies.” Literature Compass 18.2 (Feb. 2021): 1-13.

Samuel Foote’s The Mayor of Garret without the Election: What Promptbooks can tell us about Provincial Theatre,” Huntington Library Quarterly 83.1 (Spring 2020): 119-142.

“‘My Other Folks’ Heads’: Reproducible Identities and Literary Property on the Eighteenth-Century Stage,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 53.2 (Winter 2020): 279-297.

“Mimicry, Property, and the Reproduction of Celebrity in Eighteenth-Century England,” The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 60.1 (Spring 2019): 65-86.

“Possessing Parts and Owning Plays: Charles Macklin and the Prehistory of Dramatic Literary Property,” Theatre Survey 56.3 (September 2015): 268-290.

“Performing ‘A Ra-ree Show’: Political Spectacle and the Treason Trial of Stephen College,” Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700 38.1 (Spring 2014): 3-17.


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    Jane Wessel

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